As we look at our government and our inability to fight a war for a reason, I see shared sacrifice associated with war thereby improving equality followed by loss of freedom associated with terrorism. America today differs considerably from early days in terms of shared sacrifice when we have more than half the budget in transfer expense – some, who pay taxes, support many who don’t. Today’s wars are more about minimizing casualties than concluding a conflict. We could rail about government abuses, as noted, but also observe the government meddling in nearly every aspect of American life – all well intended by unwanted by many. So many of us feel our taxes are not used wisely and providing more simply produces higher deficits to be paid by ‘others’. Our criminal policies may be unfair to some but not enough for others so perhaps our society is balanced. All in all, we can improve by interfering less.
The headlines this past year have not been, by and large, what I would call very encouraging. In some ways, it’s easy to see think our American culture in particular is rapidly spinning out of control; the erosion of moral absolutes – widely-agreed-upon standards that were once common – has left a thick cloud of confusion where once we could clearly see the difference between “right” and “wrong.”
As the depressing headlines stack up, it’s easy to despair…or at least succumb to the temptation to withdraw into whatever form of “safety” we believe we can construct for our lives. The preponderance of bad news not only numbs our souls to the pain of others, but mixed in as it is with an elevated sense of fear for our own physical safety, it’s entirely understandable that we might be tempted to give up, grab what comfort and security we can, and let someone else fix what’s wrong with the world.
But if I am understanding the teaching of Scripture at all, however, it is precisely when things are going south that Christians, as part of their calling, should not only resist the urge to self-soothe but, quite to the contrary, leap into the fray.
Bad Parenting or Nosy Good Samaritan?
As I was reading through my bookmarks, as I do every day, I came across an article about a parent that got arrested and their children were taken away for something that shocked me. So, I found some articles from the Washington Post and will share some amazing reasons that parents were considered bad and on “bad behavior”.
The first case comes from South Carolina where a mother, Debra, allowed her daughter to play at the park near where she worked at McDonalds. She gave her a cellphone for emergencies and noticed that at any one given time, there were usually near 40 children playing in the park at a time. It was the second day when an adult asked her where her mom was. When the girl told her that her mom was working, the adults called the cops and was arrested for “abandonment” of a child.
Another story involves a mother named Kim that went to the store. As she left home, her four-year old child insisted on going with her for the quick errand. When they arrived the child refused to go into the store. Since it was a mild and overcast day of near 50 degrees, the mother allowed the child to stay in the vehicle. Another adult saw her leave the child and recorded it all on a cell phone and called the police and she was arrested.
We all know of stories that have turned out poorly and this appears to be on the mind of the “good Samaritans” that phone the police. But do they know the whole story? Did the parents do irresponsible things? Are they guilty of bad behavior as parents?
Bradley Balko of the Washington Post writes about:
“increasing criminalization of just about everything and the use of the criminal justice system to address problems that were once (and better) handled by families, friends, communities and other institutions.”
In the book called The Quest for Community by Robert Nisbet, he states that a society without private associations will find the state taking their place. He wrote:
“It is hard to overlook the fact that the State and politics have become suffused by qualities formerly inherent only in the family or the church.”
In this world, the term “nanny state” takes on a very literal meaning.
A father named Jeffrey from Ohio had the police show up at his front door and arrested him in front of this entire family because one of his sons skipped church. He now faces six months in jail.
Here is the story:
The local Woodville Baptist Church sends a van to his neighborhood twice a week to offer free transportation to those interested in attending services. Williamson’s children ride the van regularly on Wednesdays and Sundays. This morning was no different, as his eight-year-old son Justin and siblings said goodbye to their father and left their house to board the van. One problem: Justin skipped church and went to play instead. The young boy stayed in the neighborhood to play with friends and then later ended up at the local Family Dollar store down the road. After police officers were called to the store by a customer who recognized Justin, they took him back to his neighborhood where they proceeded to arrest his father for child endangerment.
We now see the breakdown in modern American community—without a sense of communal closeness or responsibility, we act as bystanders rather than as stewards. We warn kids of “stranger danger”, we put guidance system on them, and we lock our doors because the neighborhood is not as safe as it once was.
What is sad in this is that parents are no longer supported by their community. What ever happened to calling the parent first or walking to the McDonalds and checking out the story. Possibly, not sticking our nose into someone’s business with our cellphone video.
Society today wants to be police, judge and jury from their seat and not truly be the Good Samaritan of the olden days.
Remember the “it takes a village” cry? Now it seems to be “every man for himself”.
The opinions in this blog are those of Tom Knuppel
Ok, I am not moving to a warm climate, although I have always had the desire. With that out of the way, I recently began to look into why it is good to re-locate to a warmer climate since my oldest son has done just that.
Benefits of Moving to a Warmer Climate
To begin with, moving to a warmer weather is good for your health. Whether you love more the snow or the beach, it is proven that warmer weather affects well the body.
Your body loves the sun! Sunshine causes the production of Vitamin D in your body, which, in its turn, makes you healthier and makes you feel more energetic. Not to mention that Vitamin D is good for your bones and can prevent cancer, it is also beneficial for your blood pressure, it stabilizes the heart, the immune system and activates the metabolism. This is a great news for those who love summer and being exposed to the sun’s rays. Even exposure to the sun for only 15 minutes is enough for your body to begin to synthesize Vitamin D! There are lots of other benefits of Vitamin D but here to name just a few to give you an idea. Your body will generally feel better in a warmer climate, because cold air affects the lungs. So, if you live in an area that is cold most of the year, you should consider relocating to one of the warm weather states in the United States or at least regularly going on a holiday somewhere sunny.
Benefits of warmer states
The warm weather has many benefits – one of them is you can enjoy the beautiful sun!
The sun is a natural stress-healer. When the sun rays reach the eyes, the brain begins to produce more serotonin, one of the hormones of happiness, which makes you feel better and improves your mood. The level of the hormone melatonin decreases when you’re exposed to the sun because this is the hormone, which makes us sleepy. The stress hormone also decreases in summer because of the sun. The sunlight that passes through the eyes helps connect and control many of the physiological and psychological functions in the human body, like for example it influences the self-esteem directly. In winter, people tend to be more depressed and melancholic because of the lack of sufficient sunshine. People in cold ares live less according to statistics, suicides are more and death rate in general is higher. Also, after living in a warmer climate, the so called “insulating” fat disappears and people tend to be slimmer.
You will like to be outdoors more. When it is warm and sunny, you will surely feel more like going out, exercising, taking walks, even jogging, rather than when it is snowy, rainy, foggy and cold, when people usually prefer to stay at home more than they feel like going out. And generally there are more things you could do outside when it’s nice and warm rather than inside. And, as we just said, going out in the sun has many prerogatives.
So, what would you rather do in your spare time? Spend it in front of the TV while the blizzard is whizzing outside or pull the curtains, let the sunshine in and go out for a drink with a friend? We shouldn’t also forget that in a warmer climate the heating bills are considerably lower than in cold states.
There are so much more things to do in the summer than when it’s cold outside!
Less things to move and less worries. When moving to a warmer weather, you don’t need to bring your winter boots with thick lining inside to keep your feet warm and an overcoat – generally, there will no longer be the need for many layers of thick clothes with which you can hardly walk. You can forget about blizzards, snow, and ice, throwing sand and salt on the road to make your car go, scraping ice from the car, getting out for work an hour or half an hour earlier to dig your car out of the snow, which means less night sleep as well. In summer weather there is no need to get shovels to clean the snow, no slush on your shoes to bring into the house in spring/ autumn when the snow is melting and life seems so much easier now, doesn’t it?
Warmer climates offer also more seasonal work which is good if you are a student or recently graduated. There are lots of cities and areas with theme parks, restaurants, hotels, golf clubs, etc. that open up only in summer for tourist. You will be able to live closer to the place you are working and enjoy the benefits of summer at the same time!
It is beautiful, isn’t it! The clear blue sky during the day, the clouds that occasionally overshadow the sun can be so pretty. Not to mention sunrises and sunsets that are so beautiful to watch. Winter can hardly provide so pretty sunrises and sunsets which are anyway often hidden by snow, rain, fog, clouds, etc.
Some people just love Christmas season. I can’t say I am one of those.
They love the sense of anticipation, time with family, hunting for the perfect gift for someone, cookie baking, decorating, and all the other rich family traditions that surround it. However, it isn’t that way for everyone.
As every adult knows, we begin to experience the realities of life, and we start to see things through a different lens than we did as a child. Joyful anticipation turns into panic to get everything done in time. Memories of time with family turns into reminders of lost or strained relationships. Hunting for the perfect gift becomes a dreaded trip to the crowded mall filled with impatient people. And the family traditions once loved are set aside due to the present realities of life.
The carefree days as a child – when our eyes were filled with excitement and innocence – seem long ago to those who are worn and weary from the burdens of life.
I have come to experience many of these changes myself as I’ve grown. So much of my perspective on Christmas (and life in general) has changed over the last several years. While I love seeing the joy in my grandchildren as they open a gift just as much as any other parent/grandparent, I’ve also become keenly aware of what will immediately follow. They will toss the gift aside almost as quickly as they tore it open and say, “Next one?!” All those gifts will be played with for a time and will eventually get pushed to the back of the closet.
Doesn’t this reflect our own hearts as well? So much of life is spent striving for the next thing. But not long after we receive it, our hearts begin to long for something more, something better. We see this clearly as the day of Christmas approaches. The excitement builds, the day comes and goes in a blink of an eye, and all the excitement and cheer is gone as quickly as it came.
Even as believers who know that Christmas is about the birth of our Savior, too often our time and priorities can end up reflecting very little of him. We stress and strive over gifts, parties, and decorations and sometimes get so burned out that we lose the true joy of the season: Christ was born sinless and died so that we could one day have eternal life free of sin!
Is our joy being based on that truth or are we exhausting ourselves over all the extra fluff that so easily distracts us? Are we first spending our time and energy in things that reflect that truth before running to our to-do lists? Let’s simplify this season and leave room for the joy of Christ’s birth to fill us first and foremost.
“As more and more notable and tragic events occur, we think we’re seeing more compromised, marginalized individuals who are seeking inspiration from those past attacks.” Ya think?
The reporter’s typical mandate—to paint the clearest, most accurate picture of an event using all available information—may, in this case, be unintentionally encouraging further crime, sociologists and psychologists say.
As evidence of that view, they cite reports that perpetrators in several high-profile US shootings have collected media clippings or written admiringly about previous shooters.
Envision a scenario, the more likely he or she is to follow through on it, so journalists should refrain from including details that evoke the visual horror of the crimes: specific weapons used, grisly timelines, re-imaginings of the murder scenes.
Many US mass shooters have themselves publicized their acts prior to or after the killings, making it clear that they cared about how their actions would be interpreted and promulgated by the media.
The man who killed two former colleagues in Virginia in August, for example—himself a former reporter—faxed a detailed manifesto of his grievances to ABC News and tweeted instructions to visit his Facebook page for videos he then posted of the crime.
If a person seeks to become a celebrity through murder, some argue, the best course of action is to deny them that attention. Don’t publish killers’ manifestos or suicide notes. Unless a suspect is at large, withhold, minimize, or delay publication of shooters’ names and images.
Some of these recommendations clash with a reporter’s most fundamental instincts, and intrude on information long considered within the public’s right to know.
But there is compelling evidence that when media coverage inspires copycat deaths, well-considered guidelines can reverse that trend.
A similar rationale inspired the news industry’s revamp of its reporting standards on suicide. In the 1980s, following a number of suicides in the subway system in Vienna, Austria, psychologists there urged local media to withhold details, avoid romanticized language, and keep the deaths off the front page.
The result? Subway suicides dropped by 75%. Formal guidelines on reporting suicide have since been adopted for journalists in the US, UK, Australia, Norway, and Hong Kong.
Reporters regularly withhold information when lives are on the line. Media outlets respected news blackouts on the kidnappings of journalists and others when the victim’s safety is deemed at risk.
Many journalists and public officials have made individual choices to adopt such measures in their reporting on mass shootings. Without widely-adopted standards, though, their efforts won’t work.
The issue came up again this in Oregon. “I will not name the shooter,” Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin told reporters. “I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act. Media will get the name confirmed in time. But you will never hear me mention his name.”
He encouraged the media and the community to avoid uttering his name, and asked instead that attention stay focused on the victims and their families.
The Media Jut Doesn’t Get it.… they want to be first and don’t care.
We, as users of the media, need to let them know our feelings.
Good riddance to the law. Will its replacement be any better?
The Old Law
No Child Left Behind, on the books since 2002, was supposed to close achievement gaps for disadvantaged students (racial and ethnic minorities, low-income students, youngsters with special needs and English learners) and to eliminate what President George W. Bush decried as “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” The goal was audacious — by 2014, the law decreed, 100 percent of students would perform at grade level.
Instead, things have gotten worse by almost every measure. SAT scores have declined, as have the scores of American students, compared with their counterparts in other nations, on the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) exam. The rate of progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the nation’s report card, was actually higher, both over all and for specific demographic groups, during the decade before No Child Left Behind than after it was passed.
At the same time, the law’s aspiration morphed into a high-stakes target for accountability — not for the politicians, with their unachievable demands, but for school officials who were given an impossible burden of meeting annual testing goals. Under the law, schools that didn’t make “adequate yearly progress” faced ever more draconian sanctions, including wholesale reorganization and closings.
Stress of NCLB
As a result, public schools have turned into pressure cookers. Teachers are pushed to improve test results. A vanishingly small amount of time is spent on art, music and sports, because they aren’t part of the testing regime. Students have become test-taking robots, sitting through as many as 20 standardized exams a year.
The Every Student Succeeds Act shifts, for the first time since the Reagan years, the balance of power in education away from Washington and back to the states. That’s a welcome sign.
States Still Need Accountability
The dread “annual yearly progress” requirement is gone, as are the escalating series of consequences inflicted on school districts that don’t measure up. States must intervene to help the weakest 5 percent of all schools, high schools that graduate fewer than 67 percent of their students on time (the national norm exceeds 80 percent) and schools where a subgroup of students “consistently underperforms.” But the states, not Washington, determine how to turn things around. That’s accountability with a needed dollop of flexibility.
While states are still required to test students annually in reading and math from third to eighth grade, and at least once in high school, they have a freer hand in designing those tests. What’s more, those standardized tests count for less in evaluating schools. At least one other measure of academic improvement, like graduation rates and, for nonnative speakers, proficiency in English, must be included. And a student performance measure, like grit or school climate, has to be part of the evaluation equation. This multipronged approach should make it easier for educators to replace some drill-and-kill memorization with more hands-on learning and critical thinking.
Good Intentions but Bad Plan
Hope springs eternal in school reform, only to be followed by disappointment. (Announcing his education bill, Lyndon B. Johnson declared his education plan the “passport from poverty.” Clearly, that didn’t work.) Rewriting the standards of evaluation and giving states freer rein in bailing out weak schools, as this law does, is a good day’s work inside the Beltway, but it’s no guarantee that the quality of teaching and learning will change. Making those improvements will take hard work on the part of committed educators and parents.
Watching the news reporting of the shootings in San Bernadino, California has put me in a mood……
Be patient and wait for the Lord to act;
don’t be worried about those who prosper
or those who succeed in their evil plans.
Don’t give in to worry or anger;
it only leads to trouble.
Those who trust in the Lord will possess the land,
but the wicked will be driven out. – Psalm 37:7-9
Satanism is very evident since the 1960s including decimating Christian prayer from schools and public places, assassinations, our laws are changing and the Supreme Court starts tearing down the Truth: invalidating marriage between a man and a woman, gay marriages are legal and those who oppose are having trouble with the law, the Media is becoming liberally more wicked persecuting Christians but defending non-Christians, and globalization. According to the Holy Bible in the Book of Revelation, that the world will be united as One World Government.
The US and the world are heading to globalization by having influx of other countries’ citizens in millions, getting distributed to every part of the globe including the USA and the Europe.
Signs to Watch
1. False Bible teachers would be money hungry. They would be smooth talkers, have many followers, and slur the Christian faith (2 Peter 2:1-3)
2. Homosexuality would be increasingly evident at the end of the age (2 Timothy 3:3)
3. Earthquakes would be in diverse places (Matthew 24:7)
4. Stress would be part of living (2 Timothy 3:1)
5. Many wars would erupt (Matthew 24:6)
6. People would forsake the Ten Commandments as a moral code, committing adultery, stealing, lying, and killing (Matthew 24:12)
7. There would be a cold religious system, in denying God’s power (2 Timothy 3:5)
8. Men would substitute fantasy in place of Christian truth (2 Timothy 4:4). This is so evident at Christmas when the birth of the Savior is lost behind the myth of Santa Claus.
9. Deadly diseases would be prevalent (Matthew 24:7). The worldwide increase in AIDS deaths is almost inestimable. Over 160,000 Americans die of cancer each year.
10. The fact that God once flooded the earth (the Noahic flood) would be denied (2 Peter 3:5-6). There is a mass of fossil evidence to prove this fact, yet it is flatly ignored by the scientific world because of its uncanny implication.
11. The institution of marriage would be forsaken by many (1 Timothy 4:3)
12. There would be an increase in famines (Matthew 24:7)
13. Increase in vegetarianism would increase (1 Timothy 4:3-4)
14. There would be a cry for peace (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
15. The possession of Jerusalem would be at the center of international turmoil (Zechariah 12:3)
16. Knowledge would increase (Daniel 12:4)
17. There would be hypocrites within the Church (Matthew 13:25-30)
18. There would be an increase of religious cults/false teachers (Matthew 24:11 & 24)
19. The future would seem fearful to many (Luke 21:26)
20. Humanity would become materialistic (2 Timothy 3:4)
21. There would be many involved in travel (Daniel 12:4)
22. The Christian Gospel would be preached as a warning to all nations (Matthew 24:14)
23. Jesus said Christians would be hated “for His name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9)
24: And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26).
25: Youth would become rebellious. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy (2 Timothy 3:2)
26: Men would mock the warning signs of the end of the age saying, “for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:4). The Bible even reveals their motivation, they love lust (verse 3). They fail to understand that a day to the Lord is as a thousand years to us. God is not subject to the time that He created. He can flick through time as we flick through the pages of a history book. The reason He seems to be silent, is because He is patiently waiting, not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance.
Reference: “Nostradamus: Attack on America” by Ray Comfort
The World-Wide Web was invented in 1990, with Facebook first launched in 2004 and Twitter following two years later. The internet’s rapid advancement and the creation of social media has changed how the world learns and communicates. News stories spread within minutes, and any social media user can post their immediate opinion online. Although this provides the opportunity for an incredibly informed population, the speed and convenience can have the opposite effect, eventually resulting in us knowing less.
Today, journalists find themselves racing against each other to be the first to report on breaking news. Often times, they are forced to rely on instant eyewitness accounts relayed within 140 characters or rumors that spread between worried mothers faster than wildfire. To report on an event instantaneously means not having time to wait for the full investigation to be completed, and often before any investigation can even begin. This instant delivery of a dramatic report gets scooped up and passed around the internet, with everyone who reads the same two-paragraph click-bait considering themselves experts.
It is because of the Internet that rapid false information can be spread and sensationalized before the truth is uncovered. Although credit should be given to those news sources that provide updates as details are revealed, the general public unfortunately already believes themselves to be sufficiently educated on a subject – enough to not look it up again. Sadly, those with enough intellectual prowess to be encouraged to search for more details are often still not given the facts due to the progress of search engines.
It is hard not to agree that the Internet is an amazing tool that gives quick access to material in a way that was never before possible. It even revolutionized education, allowing anyone to learn endlessly from anywhere that is convenient or comfortable. Special care is required to ensure the negative consequences do not outweigh the positive influence it has made. So even though the blitz for breaking news will never go away, I urge those who write and report to initially be a little more accurate, and those who read to be a little more aware.
As I get older and older I try harder not to fall into the trap of “because” and “that’s the way it’s always been done”. I didn’t like that when I was younger and don’t want that for myself at an advanced age. I know I will never be modern or hip but I at least can accept some of the social norms that are appropriate in society and doesn’t go against God and the law. One of the areas that I have come around on is dealing with women and their name change. You see, when a woman gets married to a man she drops her name and takes his because “that’s the way it’s always been done” in society. Well folks, THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
In 1972, women accounted for only about 38 percent of the labor force. Today, they make up closer to 47 percent. During the 1969-70 school year, only 92,481 master’s degrees were awarded to women, compared to 143,083 awarded to men. Those numbers have risen monumentally since, with the 2009-10 year seeing 417,828 master’s degrees awarded to women compared to 275,197 awarded to men. In 1970, only about 11 percent of Ph.Ds that year were awarded to women, compared to 2010, when the figure was closer to 50 percent.
Clearly, women are closing gaps in many fields. They are seen, and are seeing themselves, as equal to men in all fields. As the gaps close, women are getting more and more confident to try things that were seen previously as reserved only to men, and, even in some cases, doing better than men.
So, why is it still considered the norm for a woman to change her last name when she gets married to a man? The tradition came about with the archaic idea that women become the property of their husbands after marriage. That’s where the term “maiden name” comes from. A maiden, meaning a virgin, retained her birth name until her virginity was essentially sold to her husband, when she then became his “property” and thus adopted his last name.
Marriages were a way of securing yourself a comfortable future. The woman stayed home and bore children and were responsible for them. The man went out and worked to earn an income to support his family. These roles were a given and never really opposed. Marriage was just a glorified business transaction. Dowries, in which the woman’s family pay the man’s family to accept their daughter and support her, were part of this transaction in many cultures.
Dowries not the case anymore in America, though. Women are taught to be their own person from a young age. In many developed countries, women are encouraged to study higher education, develop their own talents and bloom into independent women. As of 2012, nearly 50% of married couples had dual incomes.
And, yet, it’s still the default to change your name after marriage if you are a woman.
A name is an identity. As one grows and matures, their name collects a personality and uniquely identifies them a person. What is it about a union between a man and a woman that makes women “property” in this day and age?
Let’s abandon this tradition. No one is anyone’s possession, and no one should be forced to change something so close to them. Don’t make women feel guilty for wanting to keep the name they were born with. They are still a whole person without their husband.
It should be a matter of choice for the woman and it not the business of others.